I have civil authority from the state to officiate at your wedding ceremony and your wedding will be legal in the eyes of the state. My authority comes from the International Council of Community Churches, through CITI Ministries and the Society of Christ's Priesthood who recognize me as being a Validly Ordained Priest.
Although I am a priest, I am no longer considered to be a “cleric” within the Catholic Church. Although the Catholic Church recognizes that I was a Validly Ordained as Priest, I am not permitted to function as a priest within the Catholic Church because of my decision to marry without the Church's approval and authorization.
Catholic Church law requires that people who seek the sacrament of marriage, follow church “form.” What this means is that individuals are to be married before a priest or deacon and that the marriage is to occur in a church and in the presence of at least two witnesses. Since we are not following this “form,” your marriage will not be recognized by the Catholic Church as a sacramental marriage but will be considered by the Catholic Church to be a legal marriage.
If you wish to have your marriage recognized or “blessed” by the Catholic Church in the future, you would embark upon a process called “convalidation.” This process would involve some paperwork being completed by your parish priest or deacon and sent to the Diocese for approval. Please be advised that not all marriages are able to be convalidated, especially if there was a prior marriage where an annulment needs to be filed. Each circumstance is different and unique. If you plan, to have your marriage blessed, I would be happy to discuss your situation with you and to offer a guide for your decision-making.
I meet with each couple in order to customize their ceremony. This is your wedding; it is your day. As a result, I want to ensure that your ceremony includes things that are personal and special to you. As a result, the length of each ceremony will vary. Generally speaking, a ceremony can last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending upon the couple’s wishes.
I will celebrate your wedding ceremony wherever you wish. It may be at a home, a backyard, a garden on the beach or any place that is special to you. I celebrate weddings in the greater Denver, Colorado, Charleston, SC and Lowcountry, and soon....back in Coastal Floriada. Please note that the only place that I cannot celebrate your wedding ceremony is a Catholic Church.
The couple is responsible for obtaining the marriage license. I ask that you please bring the marriage license to the ceremony. The State prohibits me from performing the ceremony without a marriage license. Once I receive the marriage license from you, I will complete the necessary information that the license requires and return the document to the State for you.
Though the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the ceremony of a married priest as being “sacramentally valid”, they do recognize the ceremony performed by the married priest to be legal in the eyes of the state. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church will in most cases “bless” the marriage previously performed by a married priest. See the question above entitled “Will our marriage be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church?” Married priests who are recognized and approved by the International Council of Community Churches, through CITI Ministries or other similar organizations are considered “Validly Ordained Priests” and are able to perform wedding ceremonies under this approval.
Currently, there are about 25,000 married priests in the United States. What this means is that one out of every three priests are married. (See CITI Ministries, Inc. “What Catholics Should Know” at www.rentapriest.com)
Can we still get married even if one of us (or both of us) is divorced and we have not obtained an annulment?
Yes, absolutely. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, many other religious denominations permit second marriages. Though the marriage bond is one not to be taken lightly, some relationships and circumstances have certainly been less than desirable for many couples. I view individuals who have experienced a divorce as God's children seeking a new beginning and a new life. It is my desire to provide you with the support, prayer, and guidance to embark upon this new start.
Yes. Again, this is your wedding. I understand that when a couple comes together, it is important for both parties to enjoy ties to their faith and have ministers from more than one faith tradition present. I will gladly communicate with the other clergy if he/she is willing to do a ceremony with another minister. I am confident that we will be able to work together to plan a ceremony that is both inspirational and balanced in its approach.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!